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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002 Jun;5(2):121-9.

Efficacy of Adderall and methylphenidate in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a drug-placebo and drug-drug response curve analysis of a naturalistic study.

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Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit of the Child Psychiatry Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Stimulant medication has, for many years, been the pharmacological treatment of choice for children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recently, several studies have documented the efficacy of a new stimulant, Adderall. Although these initial studies provide useful information for clinicians treating ADHD children, their method of data presentation has provided limited information about the clinical significance of drug effects. Thus, to address the issue of clinical significance, we completed drug-placebo response curve analyses of a blinded, placebo-controlled study of Adderall and methylphenidate (MPH). Our results show that the efficacy of Adderall and MPH to improve functioning is seen throughout the full range of improvement scores. Both drugs prevent worsening and, for a majority of patients, lead to improvements that are well into the normal range. The analyses also highlight an important subgroup of placebo responders, which suggests that future research should focus on how to predict robust placebo response in ADHD patients.

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